Do Tarot Cards Still Have a Place in Our World?
In a world increasingly jaded by technology and progress, it’s easy to scoff at people who blindly entrust their lives to a deck of cards. We tell ourselves, we are rational, clear-headed people, so how can randomly shuffled cards spread on the table possibly answer all our life’s questions.
Tarot cards have had a crucial and inseparable influence in mysticism and the occult. They first arrived sometime in fifteenth century Italy, but it was not until late 17th or 18th century that tarot cards began to be used in divination. The tarot cards that we know today have gone through a long and evolution, from the pictures, symbolisms, procedures, purposes, and meanings. It is interesting to note that tarot cards were originally used in a game, with 21 trump cards, four queens, and a fool added to a normal deck, which totals to 78 cards in all. But it is unclear exactly how tarot branched out from a simple mind-diverting game into the fragile business of looking back into past lives, foretelling the future, and answering questions.
The highly-respected psychologist Carl Jung has always considered tarot as an alternative psychotherapy. For him, the rich imagery inherent in every tarot card represents archetypes of human personality and situations. Archetypes are basic models or prototypes of people that embody a defined set of characteristics. The Emperor card, for instance, can be thought of as representing the patriarch or the father figure.
Over the years, we piece together various archetypes according to our needs. These archetypes are embedded in our unconscious and thus they can affect our actions and thoughts without our knowing. Consequently, our choices of tarot cards when we pick them out from that “innocent” deck reveal our feelings, attitudes, and even fears towards such figures in our lives. For instance, we may not know it, but we have always shied from responsibilities and commitment in lives whenever there is a father figure looming in the background, etc.
Tarot cards offer an alternative language system through which we can access our Unconscious. Therefore, we do not just randomly pick tarot cards, or blindly entrust our lives to them. Every moment of our lives, we lay ourselves bare with the choices we make, even for something as papery as tarot cards.
The Missing Tarot in the Skeptic’s World
Tarot readings then should not be dismissed as just some pretend psychic business exploiting a person’s gullibility. The art of tarot cards is subtle, delicate, yet powerful. It is energized by centuries of symbolism and meaning created, expounded, and developed by people who dared to see beyond. For them, the Arcane that lies on the fringes of human experience holds the secrets we need to survive.
Before we question the legitimacy of tarot cards, we should first look into the person who wants to inquire about himself/herself. Will they see to believe, or believe to see?
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